PESHAWAR: Adil Hadi alJazairi Bin Hamlili, a former Guantanamo detainee, who according to documents leaked WikiLeaks had links with Britain and Canadian intelligence agencies, has denied these claims and challenged the authenticity of these secret files.
While speaking to The Express Tribune from Algeria on Friday, alJazairi said: “It is preposterous to call me a British agent.” All our conversations were recorded when I was interrogated in Guantanamo; I challenge the authenticity of the cable to prove what I am blamed for, he added.
The Algerian national was captured in Peshawar in June 2003 and transferred to Guantanamo Bay in 2004.
According to files released by WikiLeaks, the detainee was involved in a plot to attack the US consulate in Peshawar and was possibly the leader of an extremist cell that carried out a string of bombing attacks against civilian targets in 2002.
The cables said that according to a US assessment, alJazairi was actually Abu Adil, who Khalid Shaikh Mohammad had confessed to meeting in early 2002. According to Mohammad, Abu Adil was responsible for attacks on two churches in Islamabad and Sialkot, and possibly involved in the May 2002 attack on Karachi’s Sheraton Hotel in which 11 French engineers and three Pakistanis were killed.
However, alJazairi said he was neither involved in the Sheraton bombing in Karachi nor in the attack on the churches. “I have never been to Sialkot or Islamabad” he claimed.
Commenting on his links to al Qaeda and specifically to Khalid Shaikh Mohammad and Osama bin Laden, alJazairi said: “Some of the claims that the documents make are correct, but majority of the reports are fabricated.” He did not give further details on this.
“WikiLeaks tries to control the global political ethos with issues that are dead,” said an infuriated alJazairi, who is still under surveillance. “In reality, the cables are nothing more than another chaos-creating, money-making scam,” he said.
Claiming his innocence, alJazairi professed that he had fought in Afghanistan. He said he was in Kunar and Jalalabad, but refused to accept his links with either the Hizb-e-Islami or any other intelligence group.
The former prisoner said he was rigorously interrogated, but was later released when a court found him less influential amongst the terrorist ranks. “I was released upon the intervention of the Algerian government, but my passport and other travelling documents have been confiscated,” he said, while adding that he wanted to meet his family, with whom he is in contact.
The cable released by WikiLeaks puts alJazairi in the category of “high risk” and a part of Osama bin Laden’s umbrella organisation. The cable shows that he admitted working for the Taliban’s foreign ministry and intelligence services and was involved in a 1995 attempt to “transfer allegedly stolen nuclear material to al Qaeda and the governments of Iraq and Sudan”.
AlJazairi was married in Peshawar to a woman named Ayesha, with whom he has three children.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 30th, 2011.